BY GEORGE J. DACRE
With an electrifying performance by Kristin-Leigh Nicholson, a second grade teacher at Montebello School in Suffern, this 418th production at the famed Tom France Theatre at Antrim Playhouse is theatre at its best. It is a bit long (three and a half hours, with two intermissions) but for area theatergoers, I suggest this is one you do not want to miss.
Nicholson, as Blanche Dubois, puts on a performance that I believe would rate a Tony if the area had such awards (and why don’t they?). Nicholson plays the tormented woman who comes to her sister’s home with a lot of baggage and there meets her sister’s husband, the famed Stanley Kowalski (you know- STELLA!!!!), performed by Peter Evangelista. Stanley’s wife and Blanche’s sister Stella Kowalski is played very well by Dana Duff. It’s the role that Kim Hunter made theatre history with in the 1950s, alongside Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy.
Antrim’s trio of actors bring all of the pathos, misery, and, sometimes, humiliation to the stage in Wesley Hills. Add in great performances by Michael A.K. Croce as Mitch, who becomes a suitor of Blanche, and the rest of the cast, and you have a well-produced, well-directed show of Williams’ classic tale of people who lived together in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1947.
The flower vendor is there, the African American woman and at the end, the mental institution matron and doctor who take Blanche away. It is a sad story, really, and it involves Stanley’s berating of Blanche, a Southern woman who has been beset by a string of bad experiences with men (one of whom killed himself). Blanche has a drinking and smoking problem and a problem relating to reality. Stanley constantly reminds her of her past and is a lout who ultimately seeks to control her through brute force.
The interplay between Blanche, Stanley, Stella and Mitch keeps the audience really into this vehicle and “A Streetcar Named Desire” fulfills everything that is promised with a first-rate production. Produced by Sandy Gordon and directed by Derek Tarson. Well Done! I rate it “Four Stars out of Four”.